Tag Archives: temperance

More or less of what?

My thoughts about children’s books and Lent converge on this excerpt from Richard Wilbur’s More Opposites, which I think one of The Most Fun collections of poems and drawings. I don’t even require another person to read Wilbur’s humorous poems to — they often make me chuckle contentedly or muse to myself. I see that I already posted this particular one, but it was years ago, and I for one can use it often.

The illustrations of this question in the book include a simple drawing of people with distressed faces holding their tummies. I think the cartoon at bottom makes a similar companion to the poem.

It’s #15 in the More Opposites book:

The opposite of less is more.
What’s better? Which one are you for?
My question may seem simple, but
The catch is — more or less of what?

“Let’s have more of everything!” you cry.
Well, after we have had more pie,
More pickles, and more layer cake,
I think we’ll want less stomach-ache.

The best thing’s to avoid excess.
Try to be temperate, more or less.

There is a Mennonite cookbook titled More With Less, from which I gleaned many good cooking ideas in the early days of my homemaking career. But more valuable than the actual recipes was the refreshing concept that one might have more health and more enjoyment of eating and probably more money to spend on other things if you ate less.

Of course this is something we need to keep in mind all the time, not just during Lent. The church fathers caution us not to eat so much food that we aren’t able to pray after eating it; an overfull stomach hinders prayer. If it’s possible that Less Food = More Prayer….
Let’s just pause and think on that.

More Opposite #15

After getting less sleep than was needed last night, I wasn’t feeling perky tonight, so what did I do? Eat too much ice cream. Then I read this excerpt from Richard Wilbur’s More Opposites. So apropos.

15

The opposite of less is more.

What’s better? Which one are you for?

My question may seem simple, but

The catch is—more or less of what?

“Let’s have more of everything!” you cry.

Well, after we have had more pie,

More pickles, and more layer cake,

I think we’ll want less stomach-ache.

The best thing’s to avoid excess.

Try to be temperate, more or less.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow…. I will be more temperate, not less.